Growing up, children don’t tend to care about literature. They are reluctantly exposed to classics, like To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn. Most groan at the prospect of having to dissect and act out Death of a Salesman.
These children often times grow up to work in jobs that seem completely unrelated to any of these stories. One realization escapes them: they are usually applying some sort of working knowledge and morals from these stories.
Truth is, the media, music, and books, help mold people. There is a reason literature is taught in school. Literature is the most influential of these mediums.
From a young age, literature is used as a method of teaching through the use of symbolism. Between the pages, lovers argue over another woman, when in reality, their assailant was the lack of commitment. Drugs are used as a sign of unhappiness and self-loathing. Work is looked at in scorn, or love.
There are lessons to be learned between the pages, if only readers care to look hard enough. Once interpreted, readers find that they’re more capable of handing major life issues.
Morality is another major point in literature. Transgressional fiction, like that of Chuck Palahniuk teaches what not to do on an average day. He consistently enjoys pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable in society.
Meanwhile, authors like Jane Austen strived to create strong women that rose above society’s expectations and pressures on females. For instance, in Pride and Prejudice, Austen created Elizabeth Bennet as a means of portraying how much value a woman should put on genuine love. Her message was one many would benefit from: never marry for money.
Obviously, there is a stigma surrounding readers: that bookworms are intelligent. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, this is true. It is one of the many hobbies that makes people smarter. By appreciating literature, by interpreting what its meaning, readers unconsciously improve their minds. It increases the ability to retain information, improves focus, and increases vocabulary skills, among many other benefits.
Of course, literature is a fantastic form of entertainment as well. While it is educational, and stimulating, it is also just as much about the drama between the pages. It is about the crazy killers, the obsessed wives and the angsty teenagers in their fictional settings. It is about the story.
TV offers this, as do movies, but nothing does it in a readable, tangible manner like a book. It is one of the oldest mediums of sharing stories, and it will forever be one of the best.
Literature is meant to be both appreciated and interpreted. The authors behind the stories have much to tell their readers. From moral lessons, to symbolic meaning, the stories they craft are meant to teach and inspire humanity. It is critical that society continues on the teaching of such a monumental subject in schools. And it is beneficial for adults to continue on reading, even when it’s no longer required.